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Can I tame a monster rhododendron?

BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428
Two very large Rhodos (approx 10feet tall, eight feet wide and four feet deep) are a very important privacy provider. They are in front of a west-facing fence but are leaning out more every year and spoiling everything I plant in front of them. Ideally, I would like to reduce their height by a third and their depth by about the same. They flower sparsely but grow like weeds here in Dorset! Advice would be much appreciated.


  • Gold1locksGold1locks Posts: 498

    Cut them back as hard as you like. Now is the best time to do it.  They will regenerate. It will take two years for them to flower again. 

    They may have spread laterally via rooted layers. If possible dig / pull these out. 

  • BerkleyBerkley Posts: 428

    Thank you for your reply, Gold1locks. It has given me confidence to be really drastic. (There isn't any other way, really! I will post before and after photos. It's going to be a big job, but I can't wait for the space it will leave me for new plants. I'm going to try and leave some growth which will hopefully grow to create a manageable barrier.

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    At my old house we had 2 huge ones which for similar reasons to you I didn't want to remove.

    Read everything I could and they said about rejuvenation pruning by cutting out 1/3 of the mature branches. 

    I did it the opposite way - Cut out 2/3 of the mature branches. It meant I still had some height for the privacy. It was slow sprouting again but I think after about the third year I could have cut back the final third. In act I didn't as I found I had a layered effect which I liked

    It did look a bit sad for a year though (bare)

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